What We Do

Trade policy

Trade policy is an exclusive EU competence under the EU Treaties and defined as the Common Commercial Policy. Under this architecture the Commission represents Ireland and other member states, taking into account the needs of individual member states and the collective good of the EU in international trade negotiations.

The department is responsible for the identification, formulation and development of Ireland’s international trade policies. We also promote Ireland’s trade interests at European Union (EU) trade policy negotiations, and actively participate at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We represent Ireland at the OECD Trade Committee.

Our key tasks:

  • ensuring Ireland’s interests are reflected to the maximum extent possible in the European Union’s Common Commercial Policy (CCP)
  • representing Ireland’s trade interests at EU, WTO and other international fora

The EU fora includes the Treaty-based Trade Policy Committee (TPC) which assists the Commission in trade negotiations. Ireland’s full member of the TPC is the head of the department’s Trade Policy Unit and the deputy is our trade counsellor based in the Permanent Representation in Brussels. Under the TPC are a number of other EU trade committees which deal with specific topics such as Services and Investment (TPCSI), Steel, Textiles and Industrial Sectors (TPC STIS) and the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) for developing countries.

At ministerial level, EU trade policy is guided by meetings of trade ministers in Council.

Our officials based at Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels, maintain ongoing contacts with EU Commission and Council officials on trade issues of particular interest to Ireland. Ireland’s trade policy interests are also represented in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the principal international body for regulating trade, with the assistance of departmental officials based at Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the WTO based in Geneva.

EU-US Trade and Technology Council 

The European Union and the United States launched the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) at their summit in Brussels on 15 June 2021. 

Following their first meeting in Pittsburgh on 29 September 2021, representatives of the European Union and the United States agreed on the importance of and commitment to consulting closely with diverse stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic on their coordinated approaches to key global technology, economic, and trade issues.

If you want to to be kept informed of developments about the EU-US Trade and Technology Council you can register on the Commission’s Futurium platform at EU-US Trade and Technology Council.

Access to Market Portal (A2M)

A2M portal provides a single online tool for export, import and intra-EU trade. The portal addresses elements relating to goods and services and the main elements of each EU trade agreement as well as GSP. It provides information for each product, for each agreement and over 120 export markets. 

The portal breaks down the legal language into practical information and it serves this information in an easy to access online platform.  

Information on tariffs, internal taxes in a specific market, RoO and ROSA (Rules of Origin Self-Assessment), customs procedures and specific product requirements,  trade barriers and trade flows is provided.

World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference

The World Trade Organization is an organization for trade opening and operates a system of trade rules. The WTO agreements cover the different areas of trade, like trade of goods and services and intellectual property. The organization also offers opportunities to member states’ governments to negotiate trade agreements and settle trade-related disagreements.

Ireland became a WTO member on 1 January 1995. 

The WTO Ministerial Conference, which takes place every two years, brings together all members. 

Further information on discussions at the WTO

News on anti-dumping/anti-subsidy investigations

In order to ensure fair trade, the European Commission applies trade defence instruments such as anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures.

The Commission offers detailed information on the procedures, and gives more information on the specific use of anti-dumping proceedings